On Sunday, May 13 at 10 am, many will gather at Millennium Place, Sherwood Park, AB, for the Alberta and Northwest Conference’s Celebration of Ministry Service. In the service, two people will be ordained, one person commissioned, two people are being admitted to the UCC from other denominations and 10 ministers will officially join the ranks of retired clergy. Indeed much to be thankful for!
Neeltje (Nel) Ouwens,
Lisa Waites, Ordinand – Lisa Waites’ childhood faith was nurtured in a handful of United Church congregations in Ontario. Through her teens and early twenties she felt her call to ministry was solely musical. She received her undergraduate degree in music at Laurentian University in 1996 and then worked as a music minister, singer, songwriter and recording artist and supply preacher/inspirational speaker. In 2005, she started studies at Toronto’s Emmanuel College to explore ministry. She then enrolled in the Atlantic School of Theology’s Master of Divinity program and served as student supply at Trinity and Locks United Churches in Huntsville, Ontario. When her spouse’s employment resulted in a move to SE Alberta in 2008, no half-time, supervised student placement was available nearby for her to complete the Master of Divinity. Lisa graduated from AST with an M.A. in Theology. From 2011 to 1016, she served as Chaplain at the Medicine Hat Ecumenical Campus Ministry that is partially funded by the Mission and Service Fund. She received a doctorate from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in 2016. More recently, Lisa came to serve St. Andrew’s United Church, Bow Island, AB in a supervised ministry experience towards ordination and completed a diploma in United Church studies from Vancouver School of Theology. Says Lisa: “I kneel before you as one who is called, equipped, experienced and excited to serve. May God bless and keep us all as we minister to God’s people during this season of challenge
Stephen Robert Harper, Ordinand – Seeking a more progressive theology, Stephen Robert Harper joined The United Church of Canada in 2011 and recently completed a denominational diploma at Vancouver School of Theology towards ordination. Stephen comes to the United Church with a Doctorate from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which focused on envisioning creative ways to connect people with God. He is the author of “They’re Just Not That Into You: The Church’s Struggle for Relevancy in the 21st Century (2012).” He has loved having the opportunity to further his education at VST and feels it provides him with the necessary foundation and background needed to thrive as a minister in the United Church. Stephen has received a call to serve in team ministry at Symons Valley United Church in Calgary and is thrilled to embark on this next chapter of ministry.
Tiffany (Tif) McNaughton, Commissionand – Tif McNaughton was born and raised in Quesnel BC. She chose Christianity in high school, and explored many traditions therein before becoming a member of the United Church. She studied Global Development at the Augustana Faculty of the University of Alberta, where the chaplaincy program encouraged an interest in servant-leadership. After a few years of working in shelters, group homes and non-profits in Camrose, Alberta and Prince George BC, she discerned a call to diaconal ministry with the support of Camrose United and Coronation Presbytery. During her formal Studies with the Centre for Christian Studies, she served in Camrose, AB; Terrace and Fernie, BC. She’s Through the teaching of friends, mentors, congregants and communities she has found a love of congregational ministry, and new enthusiasm for ecumenical and rural work. She will continue serving in a half-time position with Knox United Pastoral Charge in Fernie, BC. She looks forward to exploring new bi-vocation combinations, and having more time for kayaking, hiking, skiing, biking, felting, potting and visiting with family and friends.
Christian Kakez-A-Kapend, Admissions Minister – Christian Kakez-A-Kapend hails from the Aruund Empire in South-Central Africa. He was born, bred, baptized and ordained (elder) in The United Methodist Church. His calls to ministry and education have led him to serve and learn in six countries so far. His special interests include, but are not limited to, Christianities (not Christianity) in Global Context, God and Migration, eclectic music, and global issues preaching.
MiYeon Kim, Admissions Minister – MiYeon Kim comes to the The United Church of Canada from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea. Her undergraduate degree is in economics but during her studies she found herself drawn to church youth work and music. She enjoyed her graduate studies at Hanshin Graduate School of Theology but observed that gender discrimination was a problem in the wider church in South Korea. In many cases, women graduates couldn’t be ordained because churches wouldn’t hire them. MiYeon Kim came to St. Andrew’s College in 2011 through an exchange program. At St. Andrew’s, she met women able to work for the church in senior ministry positions. “It opened my eyes,” says MiYeon Kim. “Since then, I have had a dream to be a minister in The United Church of Canada. Finally my dream comes true after seven years.” In 2015, MiYeon Kim completed her resident student ministry at Spirit of Peace United Church in ANW Conference and married Taylor Croissant, who is an ordained minister in The United Church of Canada. They moved back to South Korea to work in churches in that country because the processing time of spousal sponsorship is shorter outside of Canada. It took about 11 months to receive permanent resident permission from the Canadian immigration processing office in Manila. The couple returned to Canada in December 2016. Taylor took a call to serve Kitscoty-Marwayne Pastoral Charge in March 2017. MiYeon took an appointment with the neighbouring charge, Edgerton-Paradise Valley Pastoral Charge in July 2017. She begins a call at the same pastoral charge in July 2018.